Who is the LACRET Team?

Wouldn’t it be a wonderful thing if a mission had an elite squad, their own “think tank”, their own group of veteran missionaries to call upon in unique and specific situations where experience and wisdom would be really helpful for knowing next steps to take?  Let it not be a surprise then– the Latin America/Caribbean Regional Equipping Team is just such a group.

They are made up of a group of veteran missionaries, many beginning their years of service in Venezuela decades ago.  They are highly educated, with almost as many doctorates as team members. However, they are not just a bunch of lofty, brilliant minds from the academic world. In fact, they are some of the most humble servants that can be found, with their hearts in grassroots ministry, in equipping people and helping them along in their various ministries throughout Latin America.  These are men and women who have a heart and much experience in mentoring, in team leadership, in pastoral training, Christian education for both children and adults, virtual ministry, and seminary training. They may just be our greatest untapped resource in the Latin America/Caribbean Division.

Ernest Dyck, the team leader of LACRET, says that the heart of the team is to be right in the thick of ministry on the field, and not simply be in academic settings. Ernest became the team leader just this January, and says it is a joy to work alongside his longtime colleagues and peers in this new role. Ernest and his wife Effie work as regional specialists in church planting and training teachers in Christian education.

ReachGlobal also has the wonderful resource of a Global Equipping Team, that functions much in the same way as this regional team.  However, the added strength of the LACRET team is that in their combined years of service on the mission field and years living in Latin America, there is a profound cultural awareness–they can pick up on many of the nuances of language and culture that many of us newer and younger workers would miss. They understand contextualization on a different level, whether that is in urban church planting, rural ministries, or in the educating of church leaders.  Every person on the team brings a different field of specialty and knowledge to the table– Rebecca Rodriguez with international women’s ministries, Jim Panaggio with spiritual formation, Ross Hunter with equipping for indigenous ministries, Carlos Tejada with pastoral networking, and the list goes on.

Ernest Dyck speaks for his entire team when he says that they greatly desire to be used as a resource to the other teams in the Latin America Division as well as to their national partners. They would be honored and delighted to come alongside you, whether it is in a consulting role, or to help facilitate training of some sort. For more information, please email LACRET1@efca.org

This video was made for the 2018 Latin America/Caribbean Conference. Team leadership has changed since then, but the heart of the team remains the same. Enjoy!

Giving from the little they have

by Omar Rodriguez, Associate International Leader for Latin America/Caribbean

Old Habana

One of the characteristics of believers throughout the ages is a desire to meet the needs of their brothers and sisters in Christ. Often, the giver is not much better off than the person who will be receiving the gift. That doesn’t seem to stop believers from giving because at the end of the day, what matters is not the capacity of the giver but rather, the capacity of our God who earnestly desires to meet the needs of His children.

In preparation for a recent trip to Cuba with several pastors from around Latin America and the Caribbean, one of the participants asked if there was something that he could take on behalf of his church in Costa Rica to the church in Cuba. We listed a few items but also reminded that brother and the others who would be attending, that there would be a pastor from Venezuela who would also be at the meetings and that the situation in that country was actually worse than the situation in Cuba.  So, we agreed to take up an offering for Venezuela and ended up raising $780.

A few days after arriving home, pastor Samuel wrote us the following note, “I also wanted to thank you for the gift you gave me to help with the situation here. I have compiled a list of some families strongly affected by the crisis to help with bi-weekly or monthly support as appropriate. I spoke with someone who can help us get to places where you can buy something called a ” combo” (bags with some groceries that are hard to come by). These combos can be bought in some supermarkets when you shop above 3,000 Bs. We can buy several of these combos to make bags that will help, at least for a week, to some of the most affected families.”

We figure that some 250 bags will be distributed in the coming months to our brethren in Venezuela. Given the circumstances in the country, that’s just a tiny drop. But to those families, it will be another opportunity to experience what believers for millennium have been experiencing, as Paul aptly puts it, “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” 

Video: Latin America: “Ministry at Street Level”

What’s your perspective on the Latin world? It may depend on how close you are to it. ReachGlobal Latin America/Caribbean has the privilege to work on the street level — to see the vibrance, beauty and hope as well as the great needs. We have the opportunity to show the love of Jesus to the Latin and Caribbean people.

Cross-cultural missions will change your perspective and your heart as you experience the people and the ministry on the street level. How will you engage in God’s work among all people?

Having trouble viewing the video? See it on YouTube or Vimeo.

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“Ministry at Street Level” is part of the Moving Latin America Pictures project. It is the fifth of five videos produced by a short-term mission team of videographers to capture the essence of the ministry and the needs on the field. Please take the time to check out the other four videos featuring our ministry in Brazil, Costa Rica, Haiti and Mexico.

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View a few of our service opportunities online. However, the needs are much greater, and God can use YOUR gifting and passions to serve the nations. Contact us to inquire about serving in Latin America or the Caribbean.

  • For the millions of people in Latin America and the Caribbean who do not know Jesus Christ as their Savior.
  • For the leaders in the Church, that they would receive the equipping and training needed to help impact their people with the transformational power of the gospel.
  • That God would raise up workers for the harvest in Latin America and the Caribbean. Pray to see how He might be calling you.

Make an online donation to the ministry in Latin America.


Venezuelans Ministering Beyond Their Borders

In a rented house in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, three women met with the desire to create a new ministry for the 15 to 20 women in their church.

Monica, Ivonne and Emérita (Ivonne’s mother), members of a small Evangelical Free Church, struggled to orchestrate monthly meetings. There was an overall lack of commitment and unity among the women, and few attended.

“We didn’t have anyone to guide us to be good leaders,” Monica says. “We didn’t know how to lead or guide Bible studies. We didn’t have many resource materials. We didn’t have anyone to help us [the leadership team] to grow spiritually or disciple us.”

That is when they heard about Women without Borders (Ministerio Mujeres Sin Fronteras) through a missionary couple serving in Honduras. WWB is a sub-ministry of the National Women’s Ministry (La Unión de Damas) of the Evangelical Free Church of Venezuela which is comprised of more than 60 churches.

“Within Venezuela, the National Women’s Ministry is great,” says Rebecca, an EFCA ReachGlobal missionary working with WWB. “They have awesome resources and equip women around their country. Realizing how much God has taught them, they now share that with others outside their borders.”

That realization led the National Women’s Ministry to create WWB to train and mentor women leaders outside of Venezuela, like the women in Honduras.

In the spring of 2010, Rebecca visited Monica, Ivonne and Emérita in Honduras to explain more about WWB.

“It impressed me how these women [of WWB] have organized their time and ministry,” Monica says. “They are women who are busy, they work and have families, but they can still serve the Lord in their churches and through this special ministry.”

In July 2011, WWB sent Rebecca and three Venezuelan women on a five-day trip to Honduras to build a partnership with the Honduran women. Throughout the week, the WWB team taught workshop classes on how to organize and structure a women’s ministry.

The Honduran leadership team was very responsive to the teaching, and they plan to apply what they learned to create new structures for ministry.

“I will need to organize myself and my time better,” Monica says. “In order for this ministry to grow, I will need to spend more time with the women, caring for them and visiting them. As a team, we will need to work together to do a better job of planning events, Bible studies and activities.”

The WWB team had the chance to meet with all the women of the church in Honduras, to learn of their needs and to encourage them. They had times of prayer, worship, fellowship and meals together. The team also had the opportunity to teach from God’s word on the idea of Christian unity and community.

Monica, Ivonne and Emérita all desire spiritual mentorship and encouragement as they move forward in their renewed women’s ministry. WWB is providing three Venezuelan mentors for these leaders. Each Honduran woman will have bi-weekly Skype calls with her mentor to discuss her Bible study, gain resources and receive encouragement.

“This partnership has and will affect our women’s ministry by strengthening us as a team and equipping us as women leaders, so that we can accomplish the goal of developing a healthy, effective women’s ministry,” Monica says.

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  • For Monica, Ivonne, Emérita, and their church in Tegucigalpa — that God would bless the women’s ministry and would use these women leaders to serve their fellow women in Honduras.
  • That Women without Borders would continue to have God-ordained opportunities to minister to women in other countries throughout Latin America.

Make an online donation to Women without Borders.


Celebrating ProMETA’s First Graduates

On April 30, ProMETA honored six graduates — not only celebrating their accomplishments in the virtual classroom but also their impact as Christian leaders in Latin America.

Mario Lopez (Venezuela), Samuel Marcano (Venezuela) and Guido Santamaria (Costa Rica), graduated with Master’s degrees from ProMETA — the culmination of many hours of hard work and study.

ProMETA is the Spanish acronym for “Accessible Master’s Programs in Theological Studies.” It is a 100-percent online international education ministry that provides theological training for Christian leaders in the Spanish-speaking world.

Three others (Alexander Cabezas and Esaú Bonilla from Costa Rica and German Arias from Venezuela) earned graduate certificates for their studies. Two of these men plan to continue on with ProMETA, working toward a Master’s degree.

At the end of his video salutation for graduation, Mario thanked the people who had supported him during his studies, especially his wife and children. “It wasn’t easy to study in ProMETA, but it was worth it,” Mario says.

Ted, EFCA ReachGlobal missionary and ProMETA’s dean of students, estimated that the graduates each put in 2,500 hours of studying, writing, reading and interacting with professors and fellow students over the past few years.

As the families, friends and ProMETA professors and staff knew well, the graduates had not only completed their classes in theology and biblical leadership, but they also had balanced those classes with full-time work, ministry and family life.

A hard-earned milestone

“It took over a decade to write the courses, choose and modify the technology, train mentors, raise funds, [and] recruit staff,” says Keith, EFCA ReachGlobal missionary and ProMETA director. “But God orchestrated everything so that in 2011, ProMETA was able to honor six Latin American leaders with their [degrees and certificates].”

About 50 attendees — mostly family, friends, fellow ProMETA students and ProMETA faculty and staff — enjoyed the ceremony in person in San José, Costa Rica — snapping photographs, exchanging congratulatory hugs and handshakes, and sipping punch. Two other groups gathered remotely in Venezuela to honor Mario and Samuel for their accomplishments.

“It was amazing to realize that, at the moment Dr. Ted Kautzmann was placing the Master’s hood on Pastor Guido Santamaria in Costa Rica, Pastors Samuel Marcano and Mario Lopez were being hooded at two separate venues nearly 300 miles apart in Venezuela,” Keith says.

One certificate graduate missed out on the ceremony, though.

Learning in action

In an ironic twist, Esaú Bonilla, head pastor of a church in Costa Rica, was busy teaching in Bogotá, Colombia — putting to use the very education for which he was being honored in the graduation ceremony.

“God gave me the opportunity to participate in a series of lectures in two churches in the city of Bogotá, specifically on the topics of spiritual formation and Christian leadership,” Esaú explains.

ProMETA played a role in preparing him for this ministry trip.

“A lot of the material that I used in the talks that I gave came from the work that I did for [ProMETA] courses and from my own exegetical analyses,” Esaú says.

Although sorry for the absence of Esaú, Keith was proud to see the impact of ProMETA resounding throughout Latin America — even on graduation day.

“God is in the business of building His church,” Keith says. “And what a significant statement to that effect is made when a graduate misses his own graduation ceremony because of a commitment to equip leaders in another country! Seeing direct results through multiplication in the lives of high impact leaders gives those of us who minister in ProMETA great joy and satisfaction.”

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  • Join the ProMETA staff and help equip Spanish-speaking Christian leaders throughout the world.
  • Help serve as a ProMETA champion in the United States or Canada, promoting its ministry to potential donors, both individuals and churches.
  • For the six ProMETA graduates as they continue to impact the world for Christ.
  • For the continued success of the ProMETA program — that additional leaders would be well-equipped for the wide variety of ministries they are leading and participating in around the world.

Make an online donation to the ProMETA Scholarship Fund.


Moving Latin America Pictures: Service Opportunity

If a picture is worth a thousand words, what about a video?

Help ReachGlobal Latin America strategically tell the story of God’s work through the creation of short promotional videos. Capture the true spirit of the culture, the people and the ministry in places like Port-au-Prince, Haiti; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; San José, Costa Rica; or Mexico City, Mexico.

ReachGlobal Latin America is inviting 4-6 video producers to join us on a two-week video production mission trip in January 2012. Producers will each travel to a different city to film for four days — interviews, b-roll, city footage, etc. — before spending a week in Costa Rica editing and producing the final product. 

Who should apply?

Video producers with:

  • 3+ years of years of production experience
  • An eye for composition, an ear for the story, and a heart for God
  • All needed equipment for video production

If you or someone you know might be interested, find out more about this incredible opportunity. Don’t pass up the opportunity to unite your love of video with your faith in the Lord.

You’ve read our stories. Now help us tell them in a new and powerful way.

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Contact movingpicturesmovingpeople@efca.org with questions or to apply.


Check out more details online or download the Moving Latin America Pictures Information Packet.

  • For God to raise up the right team of video producers to join the trip.
  • For the pre-trip preparation and planning in each location where filming will occur.
  • That God be glorified through the telling of His work in Latin America through video.